I’ve tested cooling vests dating back to 2006. So many cooling vests. And over that time, few vests make such an impact that I keep one in my freezer at all times. Coolture’s new CoolSport is one of those vests. A quick back story on Coolture. The business was started by Luanne and Van DiBernardo. Van is a former designer from the renowned fashion powerhouse Donna Karan New York (DKNY) and a fellow MSer. Luanne? She’s a cool cat and his brother, and also the engine behind the business. Together they’ve built up a solid company with an impressive alignment of vests and a history of giving back to the MS community. Their newest vest checks off a number of boxes that make the CoolSport particularly appealing.
Perhaps the biggest detriment of cooling vests on the market today is bulk. Designs have thankfully moved away from airport tarmac worker and Unabomber chic, but even so, heft and clunkiness continue to be an issue. And for MSers, that means many vests are one-and-doners—wear it once, discover it’s too heavy, followed by an unceremonious burial in the back of a closet waiting to be Kondoed. Enter the CoolSport. The “vest” saves bulk by cooling just the spine, so it’s not so much a vest as it is targeted cooling. Even so, it did the job of taming many of my MS symptoms that come on due to heat—impressive for one of the lightest vests we’ve ever tested, a shade under 1 lb 3 oz. Expect cooling to last an hour or so in warm conditions outdoors, or about two hours in a climate-controlled environment. You’ll stay mostly dry, but as the vest thaws you may get some minor dampness.
The design is mostly aces, but I am a nitpicker. The Velcro straps are nice for adjustability (and can be adjusted to accommodate myriad breast sizes), but you have to take some care when putting on the vest to avoid accidentally unattaching a strap. And concealability is good, among the best we’ve tested, but tighter-fitting clothing will unmask its stealthiness as you can see in the photos—the back has a slight hump and the front Velcro waistband may announce its presence. Speaking of which, the band may be a boon for some (um, it has an “uplifting” effect) or a bust for others (the band could literally get in the way of your bust). And while I like the cooling packs, they must be frozen solid and cannot be recharged in ice or a refrigerator. But these minor niggles are easy to overlook when you catch the price: retail is $68.99! And with discount pricing and the ActiveMSers member discount ($10 off), a vest of this quality can be an unbelievable steal at less than $50 if you catch the sales right. You will not find a better bargain.